Donabe: Use and Care

USE & HISTORY

When cooking in Banko ware pots, a far infrared wavelength is created which makes for more efficient cooking than direct surface conducted heating.  Banko ware can be used on gas range tops, inside an oven and for brief re-heatings microwave ovens. Banko ware is not suitable for electric range tops (electric oven is ok), no deep frying or use on induction burners.

Banko ware aka Banko Yaki (萬古焼)or Yokkaichi Banko Yaki (四日市萬古焼)is a heat resistant earthenware that has been made in Mie prefecture since the 18th century.  It represents the majority of stoneware for cooking produced in Japan, and is officially recognized as a traditional Japanese craft. The addition of petalite added to the clay gives Banko ware an excellent heat resistance and allows it to be exposed to direct flame. 

Daikoku brand Banko ware is named after the patented kiln used to fire it and made with a patented proprietary petalite clay.

SEASONING

Before first use, season your donabe either using potato starch mixed with water, or with the togijiru, which is the milky water from washing and cleaning rice. If using potato starch mix, use 600 ML to 1 TB potato starch.  

Fill donabe to about 80% capacity with either mixture.  

Bring to a boil, then let the liquid sit and cool.  Once this is done, wash your donabe and dry completely before use.  This process seals the microscopic pores occuring naturally in clay pots and prevents leaks and damage.  

MEASURING & COOKING

Daikoku Banko ware rice donabe are measured in the Japanese traditional unit,  gou.

1 gou = 180ml or ¾ of a US Cup

The inner lines in all Daikoku Banko ware rice donabe are to measure water to cook short grain white rice, and are staged in one-gou increments. 

The bottom line in 2, 3, and 4-gou donabes begin with a 1-gou measurement.  The bottom line in 6-gou donabe starts at 2-gou measurement.

After washing your rice, transfer to donabe and add recommended measurement of water that correlates to the measurement line.  Soak rice for at least 30 minutes before cooking.  Soaking rice in a different vessel and transferring it to your donabe will alter the measurement of water used, resulting in softer or mushy rice

 

Short Grain White Rice

Soak washed rice in donabe for 30-60 min (longer in lower temperatures).  Use 200ml to 1-Gou rice.  

If the rice you're using new crop rice, you will most likely use a little more water than usual.  Generally, depending on how soft or firm you like your rice, you can also consider trying different ratios.

Cook donabe on medium to medium-high heat for 10-18 minutes.  Timing will depend on the quantity of rice being cooked (for instance, a 6-Gou donabe will take longer to cook than a 2-Gou donabe).  Once the pot reaches boil and desired cooking time is reached, you should see steam rising from the hole in the lid. 

Turn off heat and let the rice steam for 10-20 minutes.  Do not open the lid while it's steaming/ resting).  Once the rice is done steaming,  stir gently with a rice spatula ( if wooden, one that has been soaked or wet before use) to allow the excess water and steam to escape before serving.

 

Short Grain Brown Rice

Soak washed rice in donabe for 60 minutes or more (longer in lower temperatures).  Use 300 to 330 ml water to 1-Gou rice.

Cook donabe on medium to medium-high heat until it comes to a boil.  Timing will depend on the quantity of rice being cooked (for instance, a 6-Gou donabe will take longer to cook than a 2-Gou donabe).  Once desired cooking time is reached, you should see steam rising from the hole in the lid.  This means you've reached boiling- now, reduce heat to low and cook for 20 more minutes.   

Turn off heat and let the rice steam for 10-20 minutes.  Do not open the lid while it's steaming/ resting).  Once the rice is done steaming,  stir gently with a rice spatula ( if wooden, one that has been soaked or wet before use) to allow the excess water and steam to escape before serving.

MICROWAVING

For the Daikoku Banko Ware Microwaveable Rice Donabe 3-Gou, there is no need to pre-soak the rice before cooking. Cook for 15min (based on a 500 watt microwave) and then let rice rest for 5- 15 minutes.  Ideally, the more rice you cook, the longer it should rest.  We recommend experimenting with your cooking time to achieve your desired rice firmness and texture.

CARE

  • Ok to clean with soap and water once pot is cool (soap is alright as the glaze prevents soap from soaking into clay)
  • Use a stiff natural brush or mild non-metallic scouring pad to clean. For stuck-on burnt food, simmer with water and a tablespoon of baking soda.  Let cool and use brush or non-metallic pad to scrub clean.
  • Do not fill with oil or use for frying. 
  • Donabe lids are not guaranteed to be resistant to extreme heat.  Do not expose to direct flame.
  • Do not soak in water for prolonged periods of time.  Dry completely and store after use to prevent mold and/or mildew.  
  • Use heat protection when handling to avoid burns.
  • When hot, do not place directly on surfaces without heat protection. 

 

SIZING FOR RICE COOKING DONABE

2-Gou - 1-2 people

Height of Body W Lid 150 mm
Height without Lid 119 mm
Diameter on Inside 116 mm
Diameter from Handle to Handle  205 mm
Depth on Inside 70 mm
Weight 56.55 oz

 

3-Gou - 1-3 people

Height of Body W Lid 175 mm
Height without Lid 130 mm
Diameter on Inside 160 mm
Diameter from Handle to Handle  247 mm
Depth on Inside 80 mm
Weight 86.74 oz

 

4-Gou - 1-5 people

Height of Body W Lid 215 mm
Height without Lid 145 mm
Diameter on Inside 170 mm
Diameter from Handle to Handle  270 mm
Depth on Inside 105 mm
Weight 104 oz

 

6-Gou - 2-8 people

Height of Body W Lid 225 mm
Height without Lid 150 mm
Diameter on Inside 185 mm
Diameter from Handle to Handle  305 mm
Depth on Inside 100 mm
Weight 146.64 oz